Chapter 1: Introduction

The power and flexibility of computers means that once a sound is represented as a computer file then it can be manipulated, processed, replayed and analysed at will. Of course there is some important non-computer hardware required to get that file into the computer including a microphone, amplifier, analogue-to-digital converver (ADC), and there is a choice of file format too, all of which influence what you can do with that sound, and how you might do it.

Chapter 1 discusses the storage and capture of sound - becoming digiral audio - covering the entire chain from physical sound to computer file. We discuss dynamic range; what it is, how it affects the sound, and how to compute it given the number of bits being sampled. We also consider some typical file formats and sampling rates.